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18 Jul 2017

OPEC Board Appoints Key Research Division Management

The OPEC Board of Governors, at its 149th Extraordinary Meeting on 18 July 2017, has confirmed the appointment to the OPEC Secretariat of a new Director, Research Division, as well as new Heads for the Energy Studies and Petroleum Studies Departments, respectively.

Dr. Ayed S. Al-Qahtani has been appointed as the new Director, Research Division.  Dr. Al-Qahtani, a Saudi Arabian national, has been Advisor to Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, and current OPEC Conference President, HE Eng. Khalid A. Al-Falih, since July 2016.  He had previously led Saudi Aramco's Global Economic & Energy Outlook.  He has also formerly served as Senior Project Manager for global energy scenarios at the World Energy Council and the vice-chair of the Industry Advisory Committee of the Riyadh-based International Energy Forum.  The previous incumbent as Director, Research Division was Dr. Omar S. Abdul-Hamid, also from Saudi Arabia.

Dr. Abderrezak Benyoucef has been appointed as the new Head, Energy Studies Department.  Dr. Benyoucef, an Algerian national, has been Acting Director of Studies and Knowledge Management, Sonatrach/Algerian Petroleum Institute (API), since November 2015.  For many years, Dr. Benyoucef has also been engaged as a lecturer and researcher at the API.  The previous incumbent as Head, Energy Studies Department was Mr. Oswaldo Tapia from Ecuador.

Mr. Behrooz Baikalizadeh has been appointed as the new Head, Petroleum Studies Department.  Mr. Baikalizadeh, from the Islamic Republic of Iran, has been General Manager, OPEC & International Energy Fora, and his country’s OPEC National Representative, since June 2016.  He had previously held a number of positions at the Ministry of Petroleum, including as Head of the Petroleum Market Analysis Department.  The previous incumbent as Head, Petroleum Studies Department was Dr. Hojatollah Ghanimi Fard, also from the Islamic Republic of Iran.

HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, OPEC Secretary General, welcomed the new appointments and also praised the commitment and dedication of their predecessors in office.  He added: “After a thorough and comprehensive consultation and interview process, I believe we have completed the right Research Division management that can help drive the OPEC Secretariat and the Organization forward in the years ahead.”

The Vienna-based OPEC Secretariat currently has 133 staff, comprising 42 nationalities.